Texas Coronavirus Hospitalizations Hit Record Highs for a Full Week

 

Texas coronavirus hospitalizations hit record highs for a full week” was first published by The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan media organization that informs Texans — and engages with them — about public policy, politics, government and statewide issues.

Thursday marked the seventh consecutive day that Texas reported a record number of hospitalized coronavirus patients, with 2,947 people currently in hospitals being treated for COVID-19, according to data released Thursday by the Texas Department of State Health Services.

The latest seven-day average for the number of people hospitalized is 2,468. Since the beginning of June, hospitalizations have increased almost every day. There’s almost twice as many people hospitalized because of the coronavirus than there was on Memorial Day.

Gov. Greg Abbott has said he is closely watching hospital capacity throughout the state as he moves forward with a phased plan to reopen businesses and peel back restrictions on gatherings during the pandemic.

“We remain laser focused on maintaining abundant hospital capacity,” Abbott said during a press conference on Tuesday.

Statewide, there are currently 1,453 intensive care beds available and more than 5,000 ventilators.

The new coronavirus has killed more than 2,000 people in Texas, and the state has also seen new infections trending upward: As of Wednesday, the 7-day average for daily infections was 2,157, compared to 1,641 one week before. The state recorded 3,129 new cases on Wednesday.

In Houston, Lyndon B. Johnson Hospital’s intensive care unit, occupancy rate reached 96% Thursday morning, up from 92% on Monday. But at Ben Taub, Houston’s largest public hospital, the intensive care unit’s occupancy dropped from 97% on Monday to 57% on Thursday.

In the greater Houston area, 19% of all intensive care beds are occupied by COVID-19 patients, according to data gathered by the Texas Medical Center. It posted an early warning that the current increase in cases could exceed intensive care units’ capacity in two weeks.

Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins warned on Wednesday that “if these percentage increases continue, many more people will get sick and die in the coming weeks.” The county reported 418 COVID-19 patients in its hospitals on Wednesday, a 40% increase from two weeks ago.

The average age of people diagnosed with COVID-19 is decreasing slowly but steadily throughout the pandemic, said DSHS spokesman Chris Van Deusen, confirming information released by Hays county, Dallas, Austin, San Antonio and Houston.

Lara Anton, a press officer for DSHS, said contact tracing has shown infections spreading as people gather at bars, beaches, rivers and family gatherings such as graduation parties — as well as workplace-related exposures at food processing plants. Contact tracing involves locating people and places where an infected person might have spread the virus. Contact tracers call those people and encourage them to self-quarantine and get tested for the virus before they potentially infect a new group of people.

In Austin and Travis County, health authorities said earlier this week that community transmission is now widespread in the area. The challenge is that many people who have tested positive have visited many different locations, which makes the exact infection site “difficult to pin down to one particular location” where the virus is being spread, said Mark Escott, Austin Public Health’s interim medical director and health authority.


This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune at https://www.texastribune.org/2020/06/18/texas-coronavirus-hospitalizations/. Republished with permission of The Texas Tribune.

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New Year’s Eve

New Year’s Eve was originally published: Kepler, Jimmie A. “New Year’s Eve,” Poetry & Prose Magazine, January 2012. Volume 3, Issue 15, Moonchild Designs, page 20. http://en.calameo.com/read/000339139f8d88e795466 (January 2012).

New Years Eve


Jimmie Aaron Kepler is an award-winning short story writer, poet, and indie author. He is the creator of the science fiction with faith series, The Liberator’s Helper.

Jimmie is an alumnus of The University of Texas at Arlington with a Bachelor of Arts degree in history with minors in English and military science where he was commissioned a second lieutenant in the United States Army upon graduation. He served as a commissioned officer on active duty for three years and then five years in the US Army Reserves. He earned Master of Religious Education and Master of Arts degrees from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He also holds a Doctor of Education degree in Educational Administration. He sold his first magazine article over 35 years ago and has been writing professionally since then. He lives in a north Dallas Texas suburb with his wife and very demanding cat.

Tumbleweed Snowman

Tumbleweed Snowman

I lived in two desert communities when growing up. The locations were Phoenix, Arizona and El Paso, Texas.

In the 1950s and 1960s, both areas had little snow and lots of tumbleweeds. The residents tired of the same old snowless Christmas. There was almost no hope of snowfall. Without the snow, there would be no snowman.

Some creative person came up with the idea of building a snowman from tumbleweeds. It was simple. You obtained three. They were abundant in the desert. You placed the largest on the bottom. The middle-sized one went in the middle. The small one made the head. Some people spray painted them white.

Adding a hat, eyes, and mouth to the creation gave it personality. Sometimes we even added an old scarf as well.

A tumbleweed snowman can become a fun holiday tradition for your family. It is easy to create one of these eye-catching figures on your lawn.

My family did this when we lived on Luke Air Force Base in Arizona and Biggs Air Force Base in El Paso, Texas.

Growing up as a military brat allowed me unusual experiences like a tumbleweed snowman.

If you were a military brat, what holiday traditions did you have?

Just For Fun – Pictures of Where I Have Lived

I thought it would be fun to collect pictures of the houses I have lived in from birth to my current 60 plus years. It wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be, but it was fun putting these together. Below is visual proof  of my lack of “roots”, that is my not feeling like I have a hometown. I was a military brat and United States Army Officer from birth until my late 20s. Then I worked as a Southern Baptist Religious Educator until my mid-40s. Military and minister are two vocations that are very nomadic. Moving frequently goes with the job and life. I have lived/be stationed in over 25 locations. I attended 8 schools for 12 grades. The photos are either ones I took, my mother has, or compliments of Google Maps, street view. My memory or mother provided me with the addresses/locations.

BAMC
Brooke Army General Hospital, San Antonio

I was born in 1953 at Brooke Army General Hospital in San Antonio, Texas.

Randolph AFB
Randolph AFB

My father was in the US Air Force stationed at Randolph Air Force Base in San Antonio. Leaving the hospital, I moved in with my dad and mother.

Snip20140823_9

We lived on Mesquite Street in San Antonio, Texas. It is located just east of downtown. The Alamodome is in the area where the house was built. I have a picture of the vacant lot where the house use to be.

Clinton County Air Force Base in Ohio

In 1954 – 1955, my father was stationed at Clinton County Air Force Base in Ohio.

20 Church Street Bowersville, Ohio

We lived in Bowersville, Ohio. I lived at 20 Church Street.

1946-Ford-Coupe-Harwood-TX

In part of 1955 and then 1956 I lived with my Grandfather in Harwood, Texas. My brother was born while we lived here.  Well, he was born in Brooke Army General Hospital, just like me.

Donaldson AFB

My father was in Turkey with the US  Air Force at this time.When dad got back from Turkey he was stationed at Donaldson Air Force Base in Greenville, South Carolina.

201 Maco Terrace Greenville SC

We moved to 201 Maco Terrace in Greenville, South Carolina. This where I have my first memories.

Scott AFB

While living in Greenville, SC we took a side trip to Scott Air Force Base where my father had extended military training.

Scott AFB Illinois

While at Scott Air Force Base we lived in a military trailer park. We spent a snowy winter of 1956-1957 there before returning to our Greenville, SC home.

F-3530-SPT-95-000052-XX-0092

In 1958, we moved to Glendale, Arizona as my dad took a new assignment at Luke Air Force Base.

Glendale Az

We lived first in Glendale. I started elementary school at Glendale Elementary School in Glendale, Arizona in 1959. Dwight Eisenhower was the president of the USA.

2420 Navajo Luke AFB

Then in 1960 we moved into the new base housing on Luke AFB where we stayed until 1963.  I attended Luke Air Force Base Elementary School from February 1960 through the fourth grade. I had Mrs. Davis in the second grade and Mrs. Jensen in grades 3 and 4.

803 Jefferson Ave Seguin Texas

Dad headed to South Vietnam, and I headed to 803 Jefferson Avenue in Seguin, Texas.803 Jefferson Avenue, Seguin, Texas is where I lived in 1963 – 1964. I was in the 5th grade and living there when President Kennedy was assassinated and when The Beatles came to the USA. The house was white with a green roof back then. It had trees in the yard and hedge around the house back in the day. It had a backyard that was over an acre. I had a great treehouse in the backyard tree as well as a huge garden. My father was stationed at Tan Son Nhut Air Force Base in South Vietnam. I attend Jefferson Avenue Elementary School. It was located across the street from my house. Mrs. Englebrock was my fifth-grade teacher. She taught me to love to read and to write stories.

Biggs AFB

Next I moved to El Paso, Texas in August 1964. My father was transferred to Biggs Air Force Base and B-52s. I don’t have a picture of our house on Raimey Circle. It has been torn down. I am still searching for a photo.  I attended Ben Milam School. Mr. Romero was my sixth-grade teacher. In the seventh grade, I played football and started having different teachers for each class.

Pease Air Force Base Portsmouth

From here I moved to Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and Pease Air Force Base.

2024 Larkspur Circle Pease AFB New Hampshire
2024 Larkspur Circle Pease AFB New Hampshire

It was a neat place with lots of snow in the winter. I got to go to Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine to the Longfellow and Chamberlain Homes. I went to the Robert Frost farm. I attended science camp at M.I.T. and Harvard University’s Summer Institute for the Gifted studying literature, poetry, and writing in their Humanities program. I lived at 2024 Larkspur Circle on Pease Air Force Base in 1966 – 1967. I attended Portsmouth Junior High School. I was the eighth-grade class vice-president. I went to all the historical places in Boston and fell in love with history. I was here until my father retired from the US Air Force. He earned a degree in business from New Hampshire College while we lived there.  From here it was back to Texas.  I finished the last few weeks of the eighth grade in Nixon, Texas at Nixon Junior High School. We stayed with my grandparents until our furniture arrived and we moved into the below house.

1407 Chestnut Drive Schertz Texas
1407 Chestnut Drive Schertz Texas

We lived in the San Antonio suburb of Schertz. I lived at 1407 Chestnut Drive Schertz Texas. I started high school at Samuel Clemens High School in Schertz, Texas in 1967. I would move to the Dallas area at mid-semester. We also owned the house that was two to the left of this one.

1010 Southwood Drive DeSoto, Texas

I lived at 1010 Southwood Drive in DeSoto, Texas until I headed to college and married. My father still resides there.

201 1/2 Ray Drive Arlington TX

When I was 17, I got my first place. It was a duplex. In 1971 – 1972 I lived at 201 1/2 Ray Drive in Arlington, Texas while attending The University of Texas at Arlington.

Four Oaks Apt Arlington TX

I moved into an apartment with my brother in 1973. It was the Four Oaks Apartments off Pecan Street in Arlington.

283 Hapton Road DeSoto Texas

In December 1974, I married Benita Breeding, and we moved into an apartment in DeSoto, Texas on 283 South Hampton Road. We lived upstairs, the second unit from the end nearest as you look, was our home.

Fort Riley
Fort Riley, Kansas

I spent the summers of 1974 and 1975 on active duty at Fort Riley, Kansas thanks to the US Army.

Fort Benning

I graduated from college in 1975 and was commissioned a second lieutenant in the US Army. We moved to Columbus, Georgia. That’s where Fort Benning is located. We there 1975 – 1976.

Holly Hills Apartments Columbus Georgia

We lived the Holly Hills Apartments with lots of second lieutenants in a unit off Oakley Court. I attended the US Army Infantry Officer Basic Course, Airborne School, and the Platoon Leader Maintenance Management Course while living there.

Fort Lewis

We moved from there 3000 plus miles to Fort Lewis in Washington State. We were here 1976, 1977, 1978.

Fort Lewis Company Grade Married Officer's Quarters

We lived in two different military quarters while there. The first was one bedroom. We got a two bedroom unit after our son Kristopher was born.  While stationed at Fort Lewis I spent more time deployed or on training exercises

Camp Pendleton

I made two trips to Camp Pendleton for training. I was there in 1976 and 1977.

Twentynine Palms Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center
Twentynine Palms Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center

In 1978, I spent some time at Twentynine Palms Marine Base.

Fort Irwin CA

Twice I spent months at Fort Irwin in the middle of nowhere for training. Actually think between Edwards AFB and Death Valley, CA for its location or halfway between Los Angeles and Las Vegas.

Naval Amphibious Base Coronado

Two times I suffered on the beaches of Coronado and San Diego. This was in 1976 and 1977.

Mountain Home AFB Idaho
Mountain Home AFB Idaho

In 1977, I was in a joint training exercise at Mountain Home Air Force Base in Idaho

yakimatrainingctr

While at Fort Lewis at the sub-post of Yakima Firing Center (as it was named in the 1970s) in 1976, 1977, 1978.  Tank gunnery and T.O.W. Missiles had me there.

Jack Frost 76

My unit had assignments like protecting the Alaskan Pipeline. Operation Jack Frost helped soldiers prepare for this mission, learn to preheat toilet paper and work in extreme cold.

OP near Camp Casey South Korea
OP near Camp Casey South Korea

My unit also had a mission to help if the North Koreans came back across the 38th parallel.

REFORGER

My unit also took part in REFORGER – Return of forces to Europe with treks to Italy and Germany in the fall of 1978.

Gordon Ave Fort Worth

From here we moved to Fort Worth Texas where I earned my master’s degree. We lived in student housing at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary on Gordon Avenue. This house had a floor the was not level. Our second son Jason was born while we lived here. We left here and moved to Decatur, Georgia, an Atlanta suburb when I graduated in 1980.

773 Scott Circle Decatur Georgia

We lived at 773 Scott Circle until our landlady moved back in when here husband passed away. Then we moved to a townhouse in Clarkston, Georgia. I served as Minister of Education at Scott Boulevard Baptist Church in Decatur, Georgia.

Memorial College Drive Clarkston GA

The townhouses were large and state of the art for their time. It was an affluent baby-boomer paradise. This stock photo from Google doesn’t do them justice. They were located off Memorial Drive across from the DeKalb Community College. They were 99% owner-occupied townhomes with a very strict and sometimes mean homeowners association. I was still Minister of Education at Scott Boulevard Baptist Church in Decatur, Georgia while living here.

Old Settlers Road Bogalusa Louisiana

In December 1982, we moved to Bogalusa, Louisiana. We lived in a paper mill town and could smell it. I was Associate Pastor at Superior Avenue Baptist Church.

College Street Jasper, TX

In November 1984, we moved to Jasper, Texas. We lived in this house until 1988 when we bought her first home. Our daughter Sara Joy was born while we lived here. I was Associate Pastor and Day School Principal at First Baptist Church of Jasper, Texas.

606 Pearl Street Jasper Texas

The picture doesn’t do the house justice. The lot and house are larger than they look. The house was the Better Homes and Gardens House of the year in 1959 and was featured in Southern Living Magazine. The people who bought the house after us took out all the azaleas and dogwoods we had and replaced with hedge and non-native trees. The also removed over a dozen seven-five-year-old  or older trees. They added the black shutters, wrought iron windows, and doors and made it like a prison. The multi-level tree house my kids had the backyard was also removed when the trees were cut  down. I was still Associate Pastor and Day School Principal at First Baptist Church of Jasper, Texas. I owned the house until March 1995. We moved from here in 1992 to Buna, Texas.

Vacant Lot

This was on Halley Street in Buna, Texas. We lived in a church-owned home. It has been moved. The pastor lived in the house to the right. In the background is the church. I was Associate Pastor and Business  Administrator at First Baptist Church of Buna, Texas.  I lived here 1992 – 1993.

168 Chickadee Drive Denison, Texas

Next I lived at 168 Chickadee in Dension, Texas from May 1993 until January 1996.  Our oldest son graduated high school while we lived here. My father-in-law passed away while we lived here. I was Minister of Education and Senior Adults at Parkside Baptist Church in Denison, Texas. The house was small, did not have central air, and was close to the church.

721 Marvin Hancock Drive Jasper Texas

I lived at 721 Marvin Hancock Drive in Jasper, Texas. We lived in the unit on the bottom left. We lived here for the spring semester of 1996. I was Vendor Management Specialist for East Texas Support Services overseeing the CCMS program for day care centers in 16 counties. I also taught early childhood education.

4916 Watson (2007)

I bought our current home on Watson Drive in The Colony, Texas in July 1996.  I  have worked as a senior training specialist for American Express, Internet coordinator for Hilton Hotels, as a senior support engineer for Equator LLC, and in multiple Information Technology roles for Interstate Batteries while living here. Our youngest two children finished high school, got college degrees, and our daughter married since we moved here. Sadly, the huge tree in the center of our front yard had to be cut down in 2007.


Jimmie Aaron Kepler

Jimmie Aaron Kepler’s work has appeared in six different Lifeway Christian publications as well as The Baptist Program, Thinking About Suicide.com, Poetry & Prose Magazine, vox poetica, The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature, Bewildering Stories, Beyond Imagination Literary Magazine and more. His short stories The Cup, Invasion of the Prairie Dogs, Miracle at the Gibson Farm: A Christmas Story, and The Paintings as well as Gone Electric: A Poetry Collection are available on Amazon.com. He is also the author of The Liberator Series. The Rebuilder – Book 1 is available for pre-order on Amazon. It will be released October 1, 2015. The Mission – Book Two will be available Spring 2016, The Traveller – Book 3 will be available Summer 2016, and The Seer – Book 4 will be available Fall 2016.


Pioneer Plaza & Texas Longhorns

Texas Longhorns in downtown Dallas, Texas
Texas Longhorns in downtown Dallas, Texas

Pioneer Plaza:
Located just north of the Dallas Convention Center is Pioneer Plaza. It is a large public park in the Convention Center District of downtown Dallas, Texas. The centerpiece of the Pioneer Plaza is large sculptures. It is a heavily visited tourist site. Located next to Pioneer Park Cemetery, which features the Confederate War Memorial, the two offer the largest public open space in Dallas’ central business district.

Background of Pioneer Plaza:
The land was once railroad and warehouse property. Built on land cleared as part of the failed Griffin Square development, developer Trammel Crow gets credit for the idea behind the sculptures and plaza. He wanted an iconic “Western” sculpture in the City of Dallas. He assembled a group to give the sculptures. The project started in 1992, at a total cost of $9,000,000.00. Built on 4.2 acres of land donated by the City of Dallas, $4,800,000.00 of the cost came from private funds raised from individuals and local businesses.

Sculpture:
The large sculpture celebrates the nineteenth-century cattle drives that took place along the Shawnee Trail. It was the earliest and easternmost route by which Texas longhorn cattle moved to northern railheads. The trail passed through Austin, Waco, and Dallas until the Chisholm Trail siphoned off most of the traffic in 1867.

Artist Robert Summers of Glen Rose, Texas created 70 bronze steers and three trail riders sculptures. Each steer is larger-than-life at six feet high. Altogether the sculpture is the largest bronze monument of its kind in the world. Set along an artificial ridge, man-made limestone cliff the native landscaping with a flowing stream and waterfall creates a dramatic effect.

Maintained by the adjacent Dallas Convention Center, Pioneer Plaza is the second most visited tourist attraction in downtown Dallas.

Source:

Creative Commons License

Pioneer Plaza by Wikipedia and Jimmie A. Kepler is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. Based on a work at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pioneer_Plaza.

The photograph was taken in Dallas, Texas USA by Jimmie A. Kepler in December 2008.

Creative Commons License

Texas Longhorns in downtown Dallas, Texas by Jimmie A. Kepler is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at https://www.dropbox.com/s/6u5jvbvtdlc08k8/100_1613.jpg.

Just For Fun – Pictures of Where I Have Lived

I thought it would be fun to collect pictures of the houses I have lived in from birth to my current 60 plus years. It wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be, but it was fun putting these together. Below is visual proof  of my lack of “roots”, that is my not feeling like I have a hometown. I was a military brat and United States Army Officer from birth until my late 20s. Then I worked as a Southern Baptist Religious Educator until my mid-40s. Military and minister are two vocations that are very nomadic. Moving frequently goes with the job and life. I have lived/be stationed in over 25 locations. I attended 8 schools for 12 grades. The photos are either ones I took, my mother has, or compliments of Google Maps, street view. My memory or mother provided me with the addresses/locations.

BAMC
Brooke Army General Hospital, San Antonio

I was born in 1953 at Brooke Army General Hospital in San Antonio, Texas.

Randolph AFB
Randolph AFB

My father was in the US Air Force stationed at Randolph Air Force Base in San Antonio. Leaving the hospital, I moved in with my dad and mother.

Snip20140823_9

We lived on Mesquite Street in San Antonio, Texas. It is located just east of downtown. The Alamodome is in the area where the house was built. I have a picture of the vacant lot where the house use to be.

Clinton County Air Force Base in Ohio

In 1954 – 1955, my father was stationed at Clinton County Air Force Base in Ohio.

20 Church Street Bowersville, Ohio

We lived in Bowersville, Ohio. I lived at 20 Church Street.

1946-Ford-Coupe-Harwood-TX

In part of 1955 and then 1956 I lived with my Grandfather in Harwood, Texas. My brother was born while we lived here.  Well, he was born in Brooke Army General Hospital, just like me.

Donaldson AFB

My father was in Turkey with the US  Air Force at this time.When dad got back from Turkey he was stationed at Donaldson Air Force Base in Greenville, South Carolina.

201 Maco Terrace Greenville SC

We moved to 201 Maco Terrace in Greenville, South Carolina. This where I have my first memories.

Scott AFB

While living in Greenville, SC we took a side trip to Scott Air Force Base where my father had extended military training.

Scott AFB Illinois

While at Scott Air Force Base we lived in a military trailer park. We spent a snowy winter of 1956-1957 there before returning to our Greenville, SC home.

F-3530-SPT-95-000052-XX-0092

In 1958, we moved to Glendale, Arizona as my dad took a new assignment at Luke Air Force Base.

Glendale Az

We lived first in Glendale. I started elementary school at Glendale Elementary School in Glendale, Arizona in 1959. Dwight Eisenhower was the president of the USA.

2420 Navajo Luke AFB

Then in 1960 we moved into the new base housing on Luke AFB where we stayed until 1963.  I attended Luke Air Force Base Elementary School from February 1960 through the fourth grade. I had Mrs. Davis in the second grade and Mrs. Jensen in grades 3 and 4.

803 Jefferson Ave Seguin Texas

Dad headed to South Vietnam, and I headed to 803 Jefferson Avenue in Seguin, Texas.803 Jefferson Avenue, Seguin, Texas is where I lived in 1963 – 1964. I was in the 5th grade and living there when President Kennedy was assassinated and when The Beatles came to the USA. The house was white with a green roof back then. It had trees in the yard and hedge around the house back in the day. It had a backyard that was over an acre. I had a great treehouse in the backyard tree as well as a huge garden. My father was stationed at Tan Son Nhut Air Force Base in South Vietnam. I attend Jefferson Avenue Elementary School. It was located across the street from my house. Mrs. Englebrock was my fifth-grade teacher. She taught me to love to read and to write stories.

Biggs AFB

Next I moved to El Paso, Texas in August 1964. My father was transferred to Biggs Air Force Base and B-52s. I don’t have a picture of our house on Raimey Circle. It has been torn down. I am still searching for a photo.  I attended Ben Milam School. Mr. Romero was my sixth-grade teacher. In the seventh grade, I played football and started having different teachers for each class.

Pease Air Force Base Portsmouth

From here I moved to Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and Pease Air Force Base.

2024 Larkspur Circle Pease AFB New Hampshire
2024 Larkspur Circle Pease AFB New Hampshire

It was a neat place with lots of snow in the winter. I got to go to Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine to the Longfellow and Chamberlain Homes. I went to the Robert Frost farm. I attended science camp at M.I.T. and Harvard University’s Summer Institute for the Gifted studying literature, poetry, and writing in their Humanities program. I lived at 2024 Larkspur Circle on Pease Air Force Base in 1966 – 1967. I attended Portsmouth Junior High School. I was the eighth-grade class vice-president. I went to all the historical places in Boston and fell in love with history. I was here until my father retired from the US Air Force. He earned a degree in business from New Hampshire College while we lived there.  From here it was back to Texas.  I finished the last few weeks of the eighth grade in Nixon, Texas at Nixon Junior High School. We stayed with my grandparents until our furniture arrived and we moved into the below house.

1407 Chestnut Drive Schertz Texas
1407 Chestnut Drive Schertz Texas

We lived in the San Antonio suburb of Schertz. I lived at 1407 Chestnut Drive Schertz Texas. I started high school at Samuel Clemens High School in Schertz, Texas in 1967. I would move to the Dallas area at mid-semester. We also owned the house that was two to the left of this one.

1010 Southwood Drive DeSoto, Texas

I lived at 1010 Southwood Drive in DeSoto, Texas until I headed to college and married. My father still resides there.

201 1/2 Ray Drive Arlington TX

When I was 17, I got my first place. It was a duplex. In 1971 – 1972 I lived at 201 1/2 Ray Drive in Arlington, Texas while attending The University of Texas at Arlington.

Four Oaks Apt Arlington TX

I moved into an apartment with my brother in 1973. It was the Four Oaks Apartments off Pecan Street in Arlington.

283 Hapton Road DeSoto Texas

In December 1974, I married Benita Breeding, and we moved into an apartment in DeSoto, Texas on 283 South Hampton Road. We lived upstairs, the second unit from the end nearest as you look, was our home.

Fort Riley
Fort Riley, Kansas

I spent the summers of 1974 and 1975 on active duty at Fort Riley, Kansas thanks to the US Army.

Fort Benning

I graduated from college in 1975 and was commissioned a second lieutenant in the US Army. We moved to Columbus, Georgia. That’s where Fort Benning is located. We there 1975 – 1976.

Holly Hills Apartments Columbus Georgia

We lived the Holly Hills Apartments with lots of second lieutenants in a unit off Oakley Court. I attended the US Army Infantry Officer Basic Course, Airborne School, and the Platoon Leader Maintenance Management Course while living there.

Fort Lewis

We moved from there 3000 plus miles to Fort Lewis in Washington State. We were here 1976, 1977, 1978.

Fort Lewis Company Grade Married Officer's Quarters

We lived in two different military quarters while there. The first was one bedroom. We got a two bedroom unit after our son Kristopher was born.  While stationed at Fort Lewis I spent more time deployed or on training exercises

Camp Pendleton

I made two trips to Camp Pendleton for training. I was there in 1976 and 1977.

Twentynine Palms Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center
Twentynine Palms Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center

In 1978, I spent some time at Twentynine Palms Marine Base.

Fort Irwin CA

Twice I spent months at Fort Irwin in the middle of nowhere for training. Actually think between Edwards AFB and Death Valley, CA for its location or halfway between Los Angeles and Las Vegas.

Naval Amphibious Base Coronado

Two times I suffered on the beaches of Coronado and San Diego. This was in 1976 and 1977.

Mountain Home AFB Idaho
Mountain Home AFB Idaho

In 1977, I was in a joint training exercise at Mountain Home Air Force Base in Idaho

yakimatrainingctr

While at Fort Lewis at the sub-post of Yakima Firing Center (as it was named in the 1970s) in 1976, 1977, 1978.  Tank gunnery and T.O.W. Missiles had me there.

Jack Frost 76

My unit had assignments like protecting the Alaskan Pipeline. Operation Jack Frost helped soldiers prepare for this mission, learn to preheat toilet paper and work in extreme cold.

OP near Camp Casey South Korea
OP near Camp Casey South Korea

My unit also had a mission to help if the North Koreans came back across the 38th parallel.

REFORGER

My unit also took part in REFORGER – Return of forces to Europe with treks to Italy and Germany in the fall of 1978.

Gordon Ave Fort Worth

From here we moved to Fort Worth Texas where I earned my master’s degree. We lived in student housing at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary on Gordon Avenue. This house had a floor the was not level. Our second son Jason was born while we lived here. We left here and moved to Decatur, Georgia, an Atlanta suburb when I graduated in 1980.

773 Scott Circle Decatur Georgia

We lived at 773 Scott Circle until our landlady moved back in when here husband passed away. Then we moved to a townhouse in Clarkston, Georgia. I served as Minister of Education at Scott Boulevard Baptist Church in Decatur, Georgia.

Memorial College Drive Clarkston GA

The townhouses were large and state of the art for their time. It was an affluent baby-boomer paradise. This stock photo from Google doesn’t do them justice. They were located off Memorial Drive across from the DeKalb Community College. They were 99% owner-occupied townhomes with a very strict and sometimes mean homeowners association. I was still Minister of Education at Scott Boulevard Baptist Church in Decatur, Georgia while living here.

Old Settlers Road Bogalusa Louisiana

In December 1982, we moved to Bogalusa, Louisiana. We lived in a paper mill town and could smell it. I was Associate Pastor at Superior Avenue Baptist Church.

College Street Jasper, TX

In November 1984, we moved to Jasper, Texas. We lived in this house until 1988 when we bought her first home. Our daughter Sara Joy was born while we lived here. I was Associate Pastor and Day School Principal at First Baptist Church of Jasper, Texas.

606 Pearl Street Jasper Texas

The picture doesn’t do the house justice. The lot and house are larger than they look. The house was the Better Homes and Gardens House of the year in 1959 and was featured in Southern Living Magazine. The people who bought the house after us took out all the azaleas and dogwoods we had and replaced with hedge and non-native trees. The also removed over a dozen seven-five-year-old  or older trees. They added the black shutters, wrought iron windows, and doors and made it like a prison. The multi-level tree house my kids had the backyard was also removed when the trees were cut  down. I was still Associate Pastor and Day School Principal at First Baptist Church of Jasper, Texas. I owned the house until March 1995. We moved from here in 1992 to Buna, Texas.

Vacant Lot

This was on Halley Street in Buna, Texas. We lived in a church-owned home. It has been moved. The pastor lived in the house to the right. In the background is the church. I was Associate Pastor and Business  Administrator at First Baptist Church of Buna, Texas.  I lived here 1992 – 1993.

168 Chickadee Drive Denison, Texas

Next I lived at 168 Chickadee in Dension, Texas from May 1993 until January 1996.  Our oldest son graduated high school while we lived here. My father-in-law passed away while we lived here. I was Minister of Education and Senior Adults at Parkside Baptist Church in Denison, Texas. The house was small, did not have central air, and was close to the church.

721 Marvin Hancock Drive Jasper Texas

I lived at 721 Marvin Hancock Drive in Jasper, Texas. We lived in the unit on the bottom left. We lived here for the spring semester of 1996. I was Vendor Management Specialist for East Texas Support Services overseeing the CCMS program for day care centers in 16 counties. I also taught early childhood education.

4916 Watson (2007)

I bought our current home on Watson Drive in The Colony, Texas in July 1996.  I  have worked as a senior training specialist for American Express, Internet coordinator for Hilton Hotels, as a senior support engineer for Equator LLC, and in multiple Information Technology roles for Interstate Batteries while living here. Our youngest two children finished high school, got college degrees, and our daughter married since we moved here. Sadly, the huge tree in the center of our front yard had to be cut down in 2007.


Jimmie Aaron Kepler

Jimmie Aaron Kepler’s work has appeared in six different Lifeway Christian publications as well as The Baptist Program, Thinking About Suicide.com, Poetry & Prose Magazine, vox poetica, The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature, Bewildering Stories, Beyond Imagination Literary Magazine and more. His short stories The Cup, Invasion of the Prairie Dogs, Miracle at the Gibson Farm: A Christmas Story, and The Paintings as well as Gone Electric: A Poetry Collection are available on Amazon.com. He is also the author of The Liberator Series. The Rebuilder – Book 1 is available for pre-order on Amazon. It will be released October 1, 2015. The Mission – Book Two will be available Spring 2016, The Traveller – Book 3 will be available Summer 2016, and The Seer – Book 4 will be available Fall 2016.


Arbor Hills Nature Preserve – Plano, Texas

Most Saturdays I get up around 5:30 AM. I head to my favorite Starbucks arriving about 6:00 AM. I spend the next two hours writing. After I complete my morning writing, I drive to the Arbor Hills Nature Preserve in Plano, Texas. It is located in west Plano where the boarders of the cities of Plano, Carrollton, and The Colony meet.

Arbor Hills Nature Preserve Entrance
Arbor Hills Nature Preserve Entrance

It is located on West parker Road, in Plano, Texas. The photo is of the entrance sign looking toward the east. In the background of the above picture is one of the City of Plano’s fire stations.

Parking Lot
Parking Lot

As you drive into the Arbor Hills Nature Preserve you will find adequate parking. They have sidewalks were you don’t have t walk in the street.

Arbor Hills Nature Preserve welcome area
Arbor Hills Nature Preserve welcome area

The Arbor Hills Nature Preserve is located on the western border of Plano, Arbor Hills Nature Preserve is a 200-acre park featuring vast areas of natural beauty for walking, jogging, hiking, orienteering, and other outdoor activity. The paved recreational trail is approximately 2.6 miles in length. There are also a natural unpaved trails for pedestrians only  that is approximately 2.6 miles). There is a designated off-cycling trail of 2.8 miles. It also has a natural biofilter for cleaning surface run-off from the parking lot before it reenters the ground water tables as well as an observation tower, playground, restrooms and pavilion. I’m sharing many pictures I took during my walks.

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The Arbor Hills Nature Preserve has three distinct areas.

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It is located in the city of Plano.

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Here is a map to help you explore and discover the preserve.

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One of the areas of the preserve is the Upland Forest.

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A second area is Blackland Prairie

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A third area is Riparian Forest (that is forest along the creeks and streams).

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Here are a few pictures of the pavilion area.

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Another pavilion picture.

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A third picture of the pavilion area.

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The cornet in the pavilion area has some designs in them.

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A few from the pavilion

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One last pavilion picture.

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From the pavilion you can see he playground.

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Near the pavilion is the rest room. It is near the parking area as well.

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As you leave the pavilion area you head south.  The concrete walkway has a center yellow stripe. The ask that you keep right except to pass. A large number of people walk the trails and ride their bikes on the trails. The go and come in both directions.

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Many people bring their dogs. The dog must be on a leash and you have to clean up after your four-legged friend.

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Another view of the playground.

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The grass along the trail is well maintained.

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The are signs with instructions along the trail. There are off-road bicycle trails.

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Trash cans and benches are along the trail.

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The scenery is diverse.

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Instruction signs greet you from time to time.

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Here is a trail off the main trail that returns to the pavilion.

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The views are amazing.

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There is lots of Blackland Prairie.

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Signs warn you to beware of critters.

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A view from the main walking trail back up at the pavilion.

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The trails go through many different settings. I tried to take pictures without people on the trail. Some folks get upset if they think you are photographing them.

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As you walk you cross several bridges. There are creeks and streams throughout the preserve.

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I took this picture from the bridge looking north.

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More Blackland Prairie.

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Along the concrete trail are off road trails. The one just ahead is the prairie trail.

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Prairie Trail sign.

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Continuing down the main trail. The scenery can change as you go around a bend on the trail.

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You go down hill and into the Riparian Forest (that is forest along the creeks and streams).

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I gives you a good mix of moving from sun to shade.

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Some of the trees are tall.

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Here is the entrance to the Outer Loop Trail.

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Benches are found along the trail.

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Parts of the trail are on flat ground.

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It crosses the Blackland Prairie.

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Another off road trail is ahead on the right.

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The off-road trails are well marked and worn from use.

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You find cedar trees in the preserve.

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There are different types of trees.

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Another tree.

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The preserve takes erosion control seriously.

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The are large hills to climb with major elevation changes along the walking trail.

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Here is a view of the observation tower.

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Looking down the hill onto the Blackland Prairie.

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Another view of the observation tower. This is taken from the west side of the tower facing east.

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Looking to the northwest. I live about six miles away in that direction.

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This is a large mesquite tree with a bench in its shade. You are still walking uphill at a gentle slope.

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Up the hill we go.

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Interesting vegetation abounds.

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As we near the top of the hill we start into the Upland Forest.

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It is very pretty terrain.

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My photos are in sequence of my 2.6 plus mile walk around the preserve.

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Another trail heading off the concrete trail.

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If you look close you can see cars in a parking lot in the background. This is at Austin Ranch in The Colony, Texas. Austin Ranch borders the preserve. This is at the highest point of elevation.

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The Outer Trail comes close to the concrete trail.

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As you start back down hill you come to the observation tower.

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There is a side trail right before the observation tower.

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This is a view of the last side trail from the observation tower.

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Another view from the tower.

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Still another view from the tower.

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A view from the observation tower back to the main concrete trail.

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Descending from the observation tower.

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Along the concrete trail from time to time I found chalk art.

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Another dirt trail off the main trail.

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Another bridge over a creek.

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A view from a bridge.

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A view from the next bridge.

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Almost back to the pavilion and parking lot.

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Cars and the parking lot at the top of the hill. 2.6 miles in 45 minutes. I enjoy a leisurely walk. Arbor Hills Nature Preserve in Plano, Texas is an urban gem.

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Do you seethe rabbit? I saw this one when first leaving the parking lot.

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I think we scared each other when I looked to my right and saw this deer not ten feet away.

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If you got off the concrete trails you saw more critters like the turtles.

You can read more about it at: http://www.plano.gov/Facilities/Facility/Details/Arbor-Hills-Nature-Preserve-20

The photos are taken by: Jimmie A. Kepler

March 19, 2014

Today in Texas History:

Today is March 19, 2014. It is the 78th day of the year.

On this date in March 19 Isidro Félix de Espinosa began his career as a Franciscan. Isidro Félix de Espinosa was born in Querétaro, Mexico, on November 26, 1679. His parents were Isidro de Espinosa and Gertrudis de Miraelrio Tovar. Espinoza had nine brother, of which only six of them lived to adulthood. On March 18, 1696, Isidro Félix de Espinosa joined the College of Santa Cruz de Querétaro, and March 19, 1697, he began his career as a Franciscan. On December 17, 1703 Espinoza received holy orders and 26 February of that same year he became a priest. Espinosa is thought likely that he was assigned to Mission San Juan Bautista at the end of 1703 or shortly thereafter.

On April 5, 1709, Espinosa, accompanied by Father Antonio de Olivares, Captain Pedro de Aguirre, and fourteen soldiers, left San Juan Bautista for address to the future San Antonio. Here, the Franciscans were impressed by the availability of water and the prospects of Spanish settlement. Expedition Espinosa, Aguirre Olivares and moved past the San Antonio River to the Colorado River of Texas, where they hoped to contact Hasinais who whispered that they had moved there. On this trip Espinosa also encountered Yojuanes and their allies the Simonis and the Tusonibi who tried to convince Espinos and his associates to come to their villages along the Rio Brazos but failed in this endeavor. Espinosa did not go to the villages of the Yojuane.

Espinosa and associates also failed to contact any natives on the Colorado River. The expedition returned to St. John the Baptist on April 28, 1709. Espinosa soon returned to Querétaro and he remained there until he was named President of new missions were established in the University Mission Texas. In 1716 he accompanied the expedition of Domingo Ramón, where he established three missions Querétaro in East Texas: Our Father San Francisco de los Teja, Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, and San Jose de los Nazonis.

Espinosa missionary activities in Texas included participation in two other expeditions, Martín de Alarcón (1718) and Marques of San Miguel de Aguayo (1721). In late 1721, Espinosa was renamed as the guardian of Texas Missionary University and he never returned to the province. In 1733 he was named President of the future Hospice of San Fernando in Mexico city. In the last years of his life he returned to the University of Santa Cruz in Querétaro, where he died on February 14, 1755.

His contributions as a chronicler of the early history of Texas are without peer. He was called “El Julio Cesar de la Fé en Nueva España (The Julio Cesar of Faith in New Spain)” because he worked during the day and wrote by night. Espinosa left a remarkable collection of literature. This includes a biography of his friend, Antonio Margil of Jesus and the Chronicle of the Colleges of Propaganda Fide of New Spain, called “the most important contemporary achievement Franciscans in Texas”, the work was reprinted in 1964.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isidro_de_Espinosa and http://www.tshaonline.org/day-by-day/30646

March 17, 2014

Frank Buck
Frank Buck

On This Day in Texas History:

On this day in 1884, Frank “Bring ‘Em Back Alive” Buck was born in Gainesville, Texas. He was a hunter and “collector of wild animals,” as well as a movie actor, director, writer and producer. He traveled the world catching and shipping exotic animals to zoos and circuses. He wrote at least seven books. The best known of the books is “Bring ‘Em Back Alive”. He is also known for his 1930s and 40s jungle adventure movies including Wild Cargo, Jungle Cavalcade, Jacare, Killer of the Amazon, many of which included staged “fights to the death” between formidable beasts. Mr. Buck died of lung cancer in Houston on March 25, 1950.

Saint Patrick’s Day:

Dallas has a Saint Patrick’s Day Parade on Greenville Avenue. It has 90 floats and more than 125,000 people in attendance. This year the parade was on Saturday, March 15. The parade began at Greenville at Blackwell Street and ends at SMU Boulevard.

St Patrick's Day, Dallas, TX.
St Patrick’s Day, Dallas, TX.

Photo Credit:

This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

w:en:Creative Commons

Description: Dallas, Texas
Date: 16 March 2012, 21:04:07
Source: Flickr: skyline – st. patrick’s day
Author: adrian valenzuela

March 12, 2014

King Massacre
King Massacre

This Day in Texas History:

It is Wednesday March 12, 2014. It is the 71st day of 2014. There are 294 days left in the year. On this date in 1836 the Battle of Refugio began. It was a battle in the Texas War for Independence and part of the Goliad Campaign. It took place at Refugio, Texas between March 12th and 15th in 1836. Mexican General Jose Urrea won the battle after fighting against Amon Butler King. Urrea had about 1,500 Centralista soldiers. They fought King and his 28 American volunteers as well as Lieutenant Colonel William Ward and his 120 Americans. It was a total defeat for the Texans who had 16 killed, 15 executed, and 107 captured. Only 10 escaped.

More Dallas Pioneer Plaza Photos:

Yesterday I mentioned the large sculpture celebrates the nineteenth century cattle drives that took place along the Shawnee Trail. Artist Robert Summers of Glen Rose, Texas created 70 bronze steers and 3 trail riders sculptures. Each steer is larger-than-life at six feet high. All together the sculpture is the largest bronze monument of its kind in the world. Set along an artificial ridge, man-made limestone cliff the native landscaping with a flowing stream and waterfall creates a dramatic effect.

Here are additional pictures I took of the sculptures in December 2008. Click on them and they will enlarge.

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Creative Commons License
Longhorns at Pioneer Plaza in Dallas, Texas by Jimmie A. Kepler is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at http://jimmiekepler.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/cropped-100_1613.jpg.